Plan Your Own Damn Mother’s Day.

(Note: I’m trying to push for maybe some day writing for money and so I’m cross-posting on Medium for exposure to test that out. This post is also there. If you actively use Medium, I’d love if you’d read it there and clap at it if you can, but if not, don’t fret. I think you can also follow me there so you’ll see notices of my post, but like I said, don’t fret if you don’t actively use Medium.)

“They didn’t do anything for me for Mother’s Day.”

“Nada.”

“Well…they all had their own plans so…”

I’ve heard this a million times from a million different disappointed women and I’m always confused because, in my house? Everyone knows: MOM IS IN CHARGE ON MOTHER’S DAY.

For years my tradition (that I created myself) was called Mothers Day Movie Extravaganza. In the beginning I spent all day at the movie theater seeing back-to-back-to-back movies with my oldest son. The first year we did this was 2004 and we saw Ella Enchanted, 13 Going On 30, and some Olsen Twins Movie whose name I can not recall. I usually tried to pick movies he wanted to see too, but as I had more kids I got less patient with kid’s movies and it seemed like I was sacrificing some enjoyment of my day for my kids.

AND I WAS NOT STANDING FOR THAT.

So, I started only reserving 1 or 2 of the movies for them and often included one for just me like the year I saw Neighbors and laughed so hard at the final scene that I wet my pants a little.

(Hey. Don’t scoff. With the same age comes a natural annoyance of cartoons AND a loss of bladder control.)

Now, some years there weren’t three movies out that I cared to see and maybe we’d all just go to see whatever superhero movie was out that weekend. (Do not ever ask me to review superhero movies. I give them all 5 stars. Yes, even Green Lantern.)

Some years there are other things I’d rather do like the year my adult son moved back to town for a job and so I insisted on a day in the mountains taking pictures together. Other years I simply assign myself the power over breakfast/lunch/dinner restaurant choices. One year I demanded a wagon.

(Okay. That year I could have done better.)

My point is that I am always in charge of Mother’s Day. That way? I don’t have any disappointment and my family doesn’t feel the pressure to deliver the perfect gift. It’s a win/win. They all do a great job feigning excitement and enthusiasm over my activities of choice, and I don’t lay guilt trips for the fact that I’m the one doing the planning.

And you know why I don’t lay guilt trips? BECAUSE I AM TOO BUSY ENJOYING THE THINGS I PLANNED.

Mother’s Day Selfie!

One year I made my family walk around downtown posing for selfies with me. Any other day they roll their eyes and get annoyed at my constant demand of pictures but on Mother’s Day? They all smile enthusiastically and effortlessly. If I’m needing to celebrate Mother’s Day in solitude? I tell them, “I’m going to get coffee and do some journaling. Be ready to see a movie at 2:30pm.” Every year? I TAKE THE REINS because life is too short and I learned early on that my family doesn’t think in that “sentimental gift-giving/day-planning” kind of way. As my daughter gets older I see those talents developing in her, but right now she’s struggling with final exams and school trips and if I noticed her burdening herself with a gift or day plan for me I would not enjoy it. Instead I told her this year, “Hey. You study for your math final on Sunday and you and I will do our Mother’s Day the next week.”

“But, Mom. It’s Mother’s Day. I can’t just not celebrate Mother’s Day with you!”

“Yes you can, because now I get TWO Mother’s Days because I’m 100% not letting everyone else off the hook because you have exams to study for.”

Win/Win.

Disappointment is a burden that only hurts the one who is disappointed. It’s Mother’s Day, don’t carry that burden when you can—instead—demand a day on YOUR terms. Demand foot rubs. Take control over Netflix. Teach your kids to make your coffee and demand they keep it coming until you say, “Stop!” Go out for a pedicure. Wander around Target smelling candles. Whatever it is that you want to do…YOU DO IT. Don’t wait on someone else to give you a gift or plan your day.

Unless you happen to be surrounded by people who excel in those type of things and in that case? Be grateful and also? KEEP IT TO YOURSELF.

5 Comments

  • Melody Tenney

    Thank you so much for this! While I was married my ex was TERRIBLE at mother’s day and I thought it was something I should leave up to him. Since I have been single I just kind of forgot about it but the last couple of years and especially this year my kids have been sad that we don’t do anything. They want to celebrate but I had no idea how. This sounds perfect and I will instigate it THIS year! Thank you!

  • ccr in MA

    I’ll give the disclaimer that I’m not a mother, so who knows how well I would have handled it, but your solution sounds great! It’s painful to read about women who are made so sad by not being given what they want from the day–just take it! Control what _you_ can control, make it what you want from it. Awesome.

  • Barb

    If there’s one thing that drives me crazy it’s hearing a woman say “He forgot our anniversary” or “He forgot my birthday”. It is silently then implied “and I seethed all day and it totally ruined my day.” Hey, why set yourself up for disappointment? If you want to celebrate your birthday or your anniversary, do what I do. About 2 or 3 weeks ahead of time I start throwing not-so-subtle hints. “Gee, I can’t wait to see the Lamborghini you’re getting me for my birthday on the 23rd” or “I would love to spend our anniversary sitting on a hot beach with sand in our bathing suits, fighting off sand flies, just the two of us”.
    You get to do what you want and he’s off the hook for causing you disappointment.
    But I must admit I never thought about doing the same thing for Mother’s Day. I just figured he might remember since it’s on every store, ad, calendar and the news for 3 weeks. But it’s just not something built into their genetic strands. Next year I’ll start throwing hints around April about hang-gliding over the Grand Canyon or taking selfies with the Aurora Borealis on my birthday. I’ll let you know how that goes.

  • MrsDragon

    (You have a typo on the Medium post “The first year we did this was 2004 and we saW))

    I am DEFINITELY sharing this with my mom’s groups. I am 100% on board with this philosophy! <3

  • Hilary

    Wonderful piece! This really translates to so many life situations. I really need a bumper sticker that says, “You are responsible for your own organism.”

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